Love, Japanese Style

It's Valentine's Day, and in the U.S., that means chocolates, roses, romantic dinners and marriage proposals galore. In Japan, Valentines Day is almost unrecognizable by U.S. standards. On February 14, only the men receive chocolates, and they spend most of the day trying not to receive them! That's because (and I'm sure this will catch on in the states soon!) March 14 is White Day, a holiday created in Japan in 1980. Tradition dictates that the men who received gifts on Valentine's Day must return the favor and give something in return to the ladies. The return gift is also called a "sanbai-gaeshiin", since the gift the boy gives is supposed to be three times the value of the gift he received.

According to the Wikipedia, "There are many theories about the origins of White Day. According to one, the holiday began in 1965 when a marshmallow maker started marketing to men on the grounds that they should pay back the women who gave them chocolate and other gifts with marshmallows.

"Soon thereafter, confectionery companies began to realize that they could capitalize on such a tradition as well, and began marketing white chocolate. Now, men give both white and non-white chocolate, as well as other edible and non-edible gifts, such as jewelry or objects of sentimental value, or white clothing like lingerie, to women from whom they received chocolate on Valentine's Day one month earlier."

Not to be out done, single folks have created their own holiday, too, called Black Day. Celebrated on April 14, those that didn't receive gifts for Valentine's Day or White Day will get together and eat noodles with black bean or white sauce to represent their "singledom."

White (and Black) Day is actually becoming more widespread, and is celebrated in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and various European countries.

What do you think? Do you think White Day will ever catch on in America? Post your thoughts in the comments!

Links to White Day and Black Day

If you try to instate two separate holidays called "white day" and "black day", I think we can guess what the response would be. But I do like the idea of an anti-Valentine's Day.
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According to Wikipedia, they have to spend three times as much, not 1/3 as much, which would make more sense as to why they spend all day avoiding getting things.
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"Black Day" is not a tradition in Japan. It's Korean Style.

And, yes, "White-Day" gift must be three times expensive as what we have received on V'Day.
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I have never understood why Valentine's Day is only for the man to give a woman a present. I always gave something to my boyfriend, and later, my husband.
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I agree with Bean and Wacka. It sounds like a fun idea, but I'm sure it would get misconstrued way too quickly. Plus, don't we have enough holidays as it is? It seems like there's always some day to be buying stuff for someone. Men are now required to be romantic on certain days, when really romantic things are usually spontaneous. I don't like the idea of Valentine's Day, not just from a male standpoint, but females as well. Those that don't have a "Valentine" become depressed often, and the suicide rate during this time of year triples. Some holiday.
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LOL @ Barbwire.

It's good that you gave something to both your boyfriend and your husband. Nobody feels left out, that way...
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once we adopt another holiday having a black vs. white connotation, rev. sharpton will start protests all around the country. let's not bring another reason to call us a bunch of bigots to the table. the slew of crappy holidays we already celebrate is enough, valentine's day included. corporate america has given us little to appreicate during the holidays because they've brought money into the picture. with nothing to look forward to except "that perfect gift" we have no reason to celebrate. it's really sad. celebrate a holiday because it brings family together, not because you expect gifts from them.
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who knows about making them 'real' holidays, but now that i've heard of these, i'm going to try and privately celebrate Black Day.

i wonder if the local korean restaurants sell these black bean noodles...
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Black bean noodles are sold at Korean-run Chinese restaurants, and are called chachangmyun. If you can find a restaurant and can pronounce that word, try it. The noodles are pretty good.
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it's changing now in japan, guys can give women "reverse chocolate" but its all very confusing
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